One of my favorite “AuthorTubers” is Abbie Emmons. The wordsmith behind 100 Days of Sunlight, an Amazon bestseller, she got her start writing fanfiction. She’s called it her “personal favorite medium for ‘non-serious’ practice writing, because you definitely don’t have to worry about it being good enough to publish” (source: “How to Write a Short Story (With NO Experience!)”).
Hmmmm…what does that mean? You don’t have to worry because you can’t legally publish it, anyway? Maybe. But you can upload it to Fanfiction.net, Wattpad, Archive of Our Own, or a blog devoted to your favorite Winx couple. ? That’s still publishing; you’re just not making money off of it.
I think she meant fanfiction doesn’t have to be as well written as popular fiction. Is all fanfiction bad? No, and not all popular fiction is good. Some people think none of it is.
But let’s face it: if your story is about their favorite character or “ship”, fans won’t care if it’s sloppy, silly, cliché, or devoid of plot. All that matters is Casey and Alex finally kissed! My life is complete!
Hey, I’m guilty, too. I read a Digimon fanfic ages ago where my favorite digital anti-hero, Beelzemon (a.k.a. Beelzebumon), became human. How? Why? I don’t remember. Probably a secret government project. This franchise is full of them.
Oh, and he had to learn how to use a toilet because he had a body part he didn’t have before. Thankfully, the writer didn’t linger on his struggle.
Writing About an Unpopular Pairing
As much as I love Aisha and Nex, you’d think I read a lot of fanfiction about them.
Besides, what fanfiction? Hardly anyone in the Winx fandom writes about them. If someone does, they usually break the couple up and shove Aisha back into the arms of one of her other love interests, typically her first boyfriend.
That’s one reason I made this blog: to publish fanfiction that keeps her and Nex together and explores how their relationship could grow. But as I said in a previous post, I feel like my stories have to be amazing to overcome the bias against them.
The truth is the Winx fandom doesn’t hate them — they hate their love story and Nex’s characterization in Winx Club. I want to redeem this couple (and Nex himself) with better stories. Will everyone change their minds? No, but it’s still worth a try because I love this couple.
I also see my truth in them.
The Truth I Want to Scream From the Rooftops
Abbie Emmons says your story’s theme is “the truth you want to scream from the rooftops”. Characters are the vessels of your theme. They can’t speak without you, but you can’t speak without them, either.
I have a lot I want to say, and I think I can say it through Aisha and Nex. They already have profound ideas embedded in their characters, like the meanings of their names: life (Aisha) and death (Nex). Those realities affect every person on Earth, regardless of identity or physical traits. You could say a million things with that alone!
But I’ll start small. I just want to prove this couple has more to offer than what we saw in Winx Club. To do that, I have to write well. A weak story would hurt their image even more.
So, does fanfiction have to be good? I think it depends. If it’s about a popular character or couple, it doesn’t have to be good because people will eat it up, anyway. It’s the same reason Hollywood loves remakes; they know they’ll always gross well because of the public’s nostalgia and emotional attachment. (Unless the studio really screws up like with the live-action Mulan remake.)
But if a fanfic is about an unpopular character or couple, it has to be good because people will judge it more harshly. We hold the things we hate to a higher standard than the things we love. You’d think it would be the other way around, but when we love something, we overlook or forgive its flaws. And when we hate something, we’re laser-focused on everything we think is wrong with it.
Breaking through that bias will take more effort. Can I do it? I hope so.